Facing Fears Among Trees

I’ve always hated doing anything that involves heights – even leaning on a railing from the third floor of a building and looking down terrifies me. Heck, even ziplining from about 2 meters off the ground freaks me out. There’s something about being so high above ground that makes me feel like things could topple and fall apart more easily the further from solid ground you are.

So when my dad took my sister and I to Bali Treetop Adventure Park in July and said “this is a reward for working so hard at school,” I looked up, saw ropes criss-crossing trees and people treading them and thought “wrong reward, Dad.” (Sorry Pa!) But since we were already there, might as well just tackle this fear of heights head-on.

Located inside Bedugul Botanical Gardens, Bali Treetop Adventure Park literally serves up adventure among tree tops. For locals, adults aged thirteen and above will need to pay IDR180.000 for 180 minutes of adventure. I think there’s a different price for international tourists which you can check out at their website. The place itself and the environment within its vicinity is actually marvelous with grass fields and statues. There’s even an orchid garden not too far from it. And since Bedugul is part of the mountainous central Bali region, the temperature also drops a few Centigrades so the air will be naturally colder. It is a pretty enjoyable place to be in if you don’t look up and realize that you’ll be one of those people hanging on ropes way above the ground.

the arena

field surrounding it

statues

the tarzan swing

Once we paid, a safety instructor was assigned to us to put on our harnesses and strap our carabiners and pulleys to them. I thought of how odd it is that we have these safety gears by our side instead of on the specific safety rope lines like how other adventure courses run their safety until our safety instructor led us to a set of ropes and ziplines about half a meter of the ground and taught us where to hook the carabiners and how to install pulleys for a zipline. That’s when I realize that I’ll be in charge of my own safety. I didn’t know how to feel about this, but then our safety instructor made us go through the entire introductory course on our own, gave a thumbs-up and said that we’re good to go. That was a morale boost in itself.

There are seven levels of adventure circuits to tackle with two being designed more specifically for children. For adults, the levels (in consecutive order from easiest to toughest) were green, orange, blue, red, and black. Each of these circuits have several differences in the obstacle and height level. Naturally, I wanted to start with the green circuit to ease into the whole “being in charge of my own safety above ground” thing. But my sister – being the thrill-seeker that she is – said that the circuit looked too easy so we started off with the orange one instead.

This circuit is located 8 meters above ground. Climbing up the narrow log wasn’t that hard until you reach the top and have to hoist yourselves up. It wasn’t until I reached the second obstacle called “Duck Footpath” that I started to realize just how high among the trees I was. Basically the obstacle was a set of narrow logs suspended by ropes at a distance from each other above a gorge. You’re going to have to look down to get an idea of where the next log is so that gorge below you will not go unnoticed. I basically talked myself through the obstacle saying “you’re not gonna die, you’re not gonna die” repeatedly. The rest of the circuit went fine until I had to crawl on all fours through a narrow barrel suspended by ropes. If you’re claustrophobic, this obstacle will not be your friend. Plus, it really bruised up the knees because there was no foam or cushion inside those barrels.

Getting through the orange circuit just fine gave me confidence to tackle the next level. Still located 8 meters above ground, I went through the circuit okay (while trying to assure myself that I’m not just gonna fall to the ground). There were some obstacles similar to the ones in the previous circuit and there were some which were a bit different such as a bridge consisting of wooden planks which you have to sidle through. However, my upper body was starting to hurt like hell and mind you, I had been actively working out for a year prior to this trip. As the wind started to pick up, the ropes also started to sway a little and I was slammed to the ropes and net a couple of times.

blurry me

I was initially hesitant to go on to the next circuit level, the red one which is 11 meters above the ground. Seriously, these circuits will challenge your upper body a lot and your arm muscles will be sore from it. It felt like a portion of American Ninja Warrior. It took the third obstacle on the red circuit for me to finally give in. The obstacle involved going from one tiny platform to another which are all suspended on ropes. I couldn’t reach out for the next one so I hung on my harness, calling the safety instructor and he lowered me down with a rope.

lowered down

I didn’t go through all the circuits in the park, but I faced my fear of heights and even enjoyed being so high up at certain points and that’s all that matters. Most of this feeling of ease throughout the circuits was probably owed to the fact that I focused my attention elsewhere instead of how high I was above ground. Being in charge of my own safety meant that I had to completely focus on where I put my carabiners and pulleys, hooking and unhooking them from different ropes. I didn’t even have time to focus on how far the ground was because I needed to keep my eyes on my safety gear which involves a lot of looking up. Perhaps another reason for my lack of fear is the adrenaline rush throughout the circuit. I was sweating even though it was 24 degrees Centigrade and quite windy. Heck, that adrenaline rush got to the point that I didn’t even realize how bruised my arms were until we were heading back from the park.

So yeah, I’ve learned that you can tackle your fears, no matter what they are if you just take the plunge and try to face them. It may involve a lot of self-coaching, even talking out loud to yourself to get through it. It may involve distracting yourself a lot. I even noticed some people doing their run through the circuits at Bali Treetop Adventure Park while cussing out loud and then apologizing out loud for their words. Everyone has their own ways to face fears. So what do you fear and how do you intend to face it?

Notes on Bali Treetop Adventure Park:

  • The park is open from 08.30 AM to 6 PM. However, sometime around 3-4 PM, a bit of mist usually starts to set in and it gets a bit colder.
  • Make sure you wear something comfortable, preferably workout clothes or something of similar material and wear shoes or sandals that are sturdy – you’re gonna need them.
  • You don’t have to get gloves, but it’s advisable to do so because if you don’t, your palms are seriously going to hurt from gripping the rope.
  • Take your time at the introductory course. Make sure you actually know what you’re doing because how you hook your carabiners and pulleys could be the difference between an injury and a good run through the circuits.
  • The restaurant at the park isn’t really that good – average at best. But it provides quite a good meal to fill you up after the amount of strength you have to exert throughout the courses.
  • There will be photographers taking photos of you. You can get these photos printed and framed for around IDR30-40.000 a piece depending on whether you can try to negotiate or not.
  • This place is great for families with children – no matter how old their children are – as there are circuits designed especially for kids. Even grandma and grandpa can join in if they’re up for it.

You can read about this destination, get an offline map of it, and learn more about Bali in my Bali for the Family Guidebook App available at Apple App Store.

Bali for the Family

Application created in collaboration with Favoroute. You can learn more about the app here.

Favoroute

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